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Renovation Considerations from a Dealership Service Manager

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Building Renovation
What considerations should be made before a dealership revamps its layout? One service manager has a few ideas.

Fixed Ops Business reporters speak with lots of dealership leaders these days who are considering renovating their facility. After all, occasional upgrades are part of any dealership’s life cycle.

But haste can certainly make waste if a dealer doesn’t thoroughly plan their revamped facility.

Jacob Jarrett can relate to that sentiment. Earlier this decade, the young service manager at Central Toyota in Jonesboro, Ark. took over a department that had a lift positioned in an ill-advised manner; the lift was in the corner of the building, and positioned in a manner that required “12-point turns” by technicians seeking to put vehicles on it. The lift became such a drain on efficiency that it eventually had to be removed.

Jarrett’s dealership learned from that less-than-ideal shopfloor layout.

“The engineers, the architects, and the designers that are making these layouts, they don’t have to put cars on the rack,” the service manager notes. “I think there’s a lot of benefit to having someone who’s going to be in charge of the building be involved in that design process.”

The dealership group that Jarrett works for recently built a new store that included all-new structures. And, during the design process, the dealership group had an employee with experience running a service department offer input on shopfloor layout.

That move, in Jarret’s opinion, was “genius.”

“Because he’s seen the struggles, you know?,” Jarrett notes of that service department employee. “He’s been through it. He’s seen technicians struggle to get cars on racks. So, he knew how it would work if I put this here, and put this here, and put this here.”

“That, to me, was very smart of the guys doing the design of the building, to involve someone who’s been in that environment, and who could point things out. I wish that happened more—I wish somebody who had some real-world experience in the shop was the one telling them ‘Hey, put this lift here, put this lift here.’ Do it that way, instead of just drawing it on a piece of paper and ‘Make it work.’”

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